At the end of the second week of the community campaign, United Way continues to gain momentum. Pledges totaled $1,862,888, representing 41% of the overall campaign goal of $4.5 million.
Dow employees have shown their commitment to the community with swift and overwhelming response. After a robust pacesetter campaign, they successfully met their campaign goal this week, five days before the official end of their employee campaign.
With Dow’s employee campaign ending September 30, they have raised the bar and established a new goal: reaching 110% of campaign goal, or $1.2 million in employee pledges. Recognizing the need is great, they are pressing forth with purpose.
“Team Dow has shown what it means to be “Stronger Together” during our employee campaign so far, and I couldn’t be more proud,” shared Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer and vice president of Environment Health & Safety at Dow. “This year has been difficult, but the amazing part has been watching our community come together to support each other. I am inspired by the resilience and selfless service demonstrated as we continue navigating uncertainty.
The community at large is also showing up in new and unique ways to show their support of our neighbors.
Earlier this week, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation announced they are matching 50 cents for every dollar donated by new donors or existing donors who increase or sustain their individual gifts. This exciting news is “game-changing” as stated by Jim Nigro, United Way of Midland County board president, as it stretches the impact of individual gifts even further.
Companies and organizations have also showed how playing a part in the campaign isn’t just about filling out a form: it’s personal. Plus, it’s fun, too.
Dow partnered with United Way to host a virtual cooking demonstration with Chef Theo from The H Hotel. Attendees watched Chef Theo and Kali Cochran of United Way make pan-seared salmon and pan roasted honey lime chicken live from The H’s kitchen. They learned helpful information about food insecurity and nutrition, thanks to representatives from Hidden Harvest, the Arnold Center and Senior Services, all partner agencies with United Way.
Dedicated to learning about the needs and how their dollars are invested back into our community, AMPM, Inc. hosted a “Play United” trivia event with nearly full employee participation. The ROCK Center for Youth Development—another United Way partner agency—is selling candy bars at their sites to help get the word out and add a little sweetness to campaign efforts.
The fun doesn’t stop there.
MidMichigan Health is hosting an array of activities to engage employees, including a virtual 5K, a bake sale, a cookie bake-off and Jeans Day stickers for employees. Their dedication to making the campaign fun and versatile helps boost morale and provide creative choices for how employees can get involved.
“At the end of the day, our community’s heart and compassion is what makes the campaign what it is,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO. “The beauty of the campaign is there are many creative ways to participate: special events, shared stories, virtual games, volunteering and diverse ways to give. It’s all coming from a place of togetherness and hope, which is especially encouraging after this year’s events.”
Throughout the campaign, The Reverend Wally Mayton and Sara Eastman—the first campaign co-chairs in history—will be hitting the campaign trail while filming updates at various campaign hot spots around Midland County. The video series will be shared each Friday on United Way of Midland County’s Facebook page.
“I travel the campaign trail with a colleague I trust and respect,” Mayton said. “We share devotion toward the community. We encounter our neighbors in service. This trip becomes an adventure, and we couldn’t be more excited to show how our community is working together towards this unified goal.”
The campaign will continue through Friday, Oct. 30.
Amidst a challenging year for the community, United Way of Midland County’s annual campaign is more important than ever.
“Before the pandemic and flood, the needs in our community were great,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “But the gap has widened even more due to recent events. Our partner agencies have leaned in to provide key resources and support, but they are feeling the strain. Many in our community are asking for help for the first time. Our partnership with local family foundations and this generous matching grant provide much-needed hope and stability.”
The support from local family foundations highlights the generous spirit and commitment to the community especially during this year of hardships that have hit Midland County, Miller added.
The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation made a sizeable investment in the Rise Together Fund and provides vital campaign funding each year. The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation also invested in rebuilding our community and offers steadfast campaign funding.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has a long history of providing matching grants to benefit the annual campaign and was instrumental in establishing the Rise Together Fund. To create extra incentive to meet the increasing needs during this challenging year, they are expanding their matching grant for this year’s campaign. A 50-cent match is being offered for every dollar invested by new donors and those who sustain or increase their support to United Way this year.
“This is a game changer for our community,” shared Jim Nigro, United Way of Midland County Board President. “We are so incredibly grateful for this generous match along with such strong support from our family foundations. They inspire and unite us around a common vision. We couldn’t do this without them.”
The generous matching grant celebrates the impact of every gift. It pulls us all together for a common purpose and helps us feel a part of reaching the goal of $4.5 million.
“Our trustees are honored to invest in the vision that United Way created to unite our community,” shared Dr. Ruth Alden Doan, President of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. “We are grateful to be able to sustain this vital work by providing matching dollars to support gifts made by donors that share that vision.”
At the end of the first “official” week of the community campaign, United Way is excited to announce pledges totaling $1,280,761, representing 28% of the overall goal of raising $4.5 million.
But these represent more than numbers. They represent the commitment of our community.
“Behind every gift is a name, a face, a decision…and these collective decisions are what translates into impact,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO. “That’s how a community transforms: by individuals at work or home making the personal choice to say, ‘I want to help improve lives in my own backyard.’ This first week of the campaign already reflects how people are willing to show up to help others in many different ways.”
After a successful pacesetter start, Dow employees kicked off their employee campaign with an encouraging, strong first week. They have already reached 82% of their employee goal and continue to show significant progress.
Team Dow is leading the way with innovative new ways to support the campaign. Dow and United Way collaborated to co-host a webcast, which engaged more than 400 participants across the region. Campaign ambassadors are going above and beyond with fun ways for employees to participate in the campaign, including digital trivia nights, online change wars and other special events like Crazy Hair day.
United Way shared that one in three local residents are considered food insecure in Midland County. To help combat this, Corteva Agriscience partnered with United Way, the Great Lakes Loons, Hidden Harvest and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan this week to host the Corteva Fills Pantries food packing event.
Over 100 volunteers joined together to pack an impressive 40,000 pounds of food to distribute throughout Midland County. The event helped fill a gap due to the postponement of the National Association of Letter Carrier’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
“Through the initiative and careful planning of the Corteva team, 40,000 pounds of food are now able to be shared with the food pantries typically benefiting from the food drive,” said Samantha McKenzie, president and CEO of Hidden Harvest. “We are so excited to be able to share this food to our network of hunger relief agencies. This will help prepare us for changes to come as certain COVID-19 relief programs are coming to a close.”
Mid-Michigan Health also kicked off their employee campaign with an outstanding new milestone. Thanks to overwhelming enthusiasm, their annual campaign T-Shirts sold out completely, recording the best shirt sales in campaign history. Keep an eye out for the unique blue jersey-style Live United shirts in the community.
Many organizations are launching their campaigns in the coming weeks, but companies like Fisher Contracting usually run their campaign earlier in the year. Because of the devastating flood, Fisher did a roll-over campaign to ensure stable support for United Way. They recognized that their employees are busy helping the community and made a corporate commitment of support.
Every community member has a story…and many people face challenges that are often invisible. The community’s dollars are invested into key local programs that focus on Youth Success, Household Stability and Health.
A local woman from Sanford serves as the caretaker to her 37-year old husband, who was diagnosed in 2011 with a rare form of brain cancer. They have a 6-year-old child. She used to have a corporate job she enjoyed, but had to quit her job to focus on caring for her husband and child. Cancer Services, who receives funding from United Way, helped offer much-needed resources to the family.
“Cancer Services came in like a breath of fresh air,” she said. “Not only did they remind me that I wasn’t alone on this journey, but helped us pay travel expenses for out-of-state treatments. I don’t know what we would have done without them. My son would not have his father today.”
The full story is shared as part of United Way’s new video series, “Dear Neighbor,” which will be shared weekly on United Way’s Facebook page.
The 2020 United Way campaign will continue until October 30 and everyone is invited to be a part of it. Donate here.
For more information about how you can help improve lives in our community, visit unitedwaymidland.org. To read stories of impact or view more videos in the “Dear Neighbor” series, visit unitedwaymidland.org/community-impact/stories/.